We have made the journey into homeschooling after three long frustrating years in the public schools. I have been cleaning and organizing, getting ready for my debut into Mom-As-Teacher. In the process, I have been tossing many items that I had saved, usually for documentation purposes, during the past three years. My son could always do more than what was provided. He even skipped a grade and was still ahead. He would come home starved for knowledge that he never was exposed to in the public schools of Georgia. As I have been sifting through this the past two days, I have had plenty of time to think. These may be funny on some levels–could be a little bittersweet on others. Here are my twenty-five reasons as to why I will so enjoy NO PUBLIC SCHOOL:
1. No drop off line. I will not have to worry about my son when no one is out there monitoring the drop off process. Best yet, I won’t have to say goodbye every morning. It will be all Hellos and Good Mornings!
2. No pick up line. I could give a big rebel yell on this one. No sitting in the heat wasting gas and air. No straddling my younger one in the car seat with a drink, etc. just to sit. I won’t have to be stared at by the other mommies (or daddies) and I won’t have to be forced to roll down my window to chat with the school gossip. The gas I will save alone will probably pay for Rosetta Stone!!
3. No teacher conferences. Unless I feel a hankering to talk to myself.
4. No fundraisers. No overpriced gift wrap, coffee mixes, useless magazines, “bake” sales, and the other assorted junk that comes with the territory. Of course, I have many ideas on the waste of school funds, but I digress with the scope of this article. We can listen to some Mozart or something instead of hitting up our elderly aunts, uncles, and grandparents to buy junk out of their Social Security checks to provide money for necessary items when the local system has wasted our tax money on $1,700 a head teacher conferences to learn nothing. By the way, isn’t that why they earned college degrees in the first place–to know how to teach? School systems never learn to just let teachers do what they do best–teach, and get out of the way and let them do it! Fortunately, we won’t have that problem here at home.
5. No school Book Fairs–more overpricing on books, and those assorted hot pink furry pencils, football shaped erasers and other little pieces of junk. We can go to Barnes and Noble for a book fair any day we choose and enjoy a frappe while we browse through books.
6. We can learn barefoot on deliciously clean, cool and shiny hardwood floors. Goodbye germy carpet and reeking community bathrooms.
7. We can indulge in the living history classroom. We can take the lessons outdoors. We can learn about the Civil War on the actual battlefield grounds of Chickamauga or Kennesaw. We can learn about the Cherokee while we soak our toes in the stream adjacent to the Blue Hole at Red Clay. We can learn about the Trail of Tears while we climb the cantivalered staircase of the Chief Vann House. My fondest memories of school were when the teachers took us outside for class. It did not happen often. It rarely if ever happens in today’s public school systems.
8. I will be allowed to ride with my child on Field Trips. So funny is this one. I was never allowed once to attend a field trip and ride on the school bus with my child on a field trip. I had to follow behind in my car. They would have preferred that I not went at all. Well, now I can ride with him. In my big Suburban with the XM radio and the leather seats and the blast of cold air. I can pack a cooler in the back with a real picnic lunch. We can actually have a discussion about what we have seen and learned. We can arrive when we want and we can leave when we want. And if we want to stop at McDonald’s on the way back home, then we can do that as well. No nasty school brown bag lunches for us!
9. No chance of inclement weather. During the last school term (actually only about five months ago) our local school system did not call off school early in the midst of a terrible ice and snow storm. Due to their folly, I had to drive for an hour to pick up my son over icy roads with my toddler in the back seat. It took us two hours to arrive home. We spent many hours and efforts watching “snowbird’ reports via the internet and television trying to figure out exactly what they were going to do. We have taken him, only to turn back around and go pick him up. No More Weather Insanity! We will just do our lessons as usual. Simple. No worries. Our classroom is always ready to go.
10. No Absenteeism. If we have a sniffle, we will carry on. However, I am fairly confident that there will be a whole lot less sniffles removed out of the germ riddled environment of the masses. Our son’s chronic allergies have improved significantly since the summer began–this happens every year. So here is to better health. Another benefit: we can stay out of school on our birthdays, and do school on other days. Perfect attendance? Well, that is a given.
11. Better lunches. I always packed my son’s lunch anyway. School lunches ar a whole other matter. But now he can have ice cold crisp salads with homemade dressings, hot homemade vegetable soups on a cold day, creamy hot chocolate as a snack. No more digestive sludge and sugary snacks for “fundraisers.” There will be no obesity epidemic and cavity riddled teeth around here!
12. By a little after noon, we will be done for the day. Four and a half hours! We will begin at 8 am, and be finished by 12:30 p.m. when we will eat a healthy lunch. That is how much time is wasted in public school–or pardon me, that is how much time they acknowledge is wasted. From what I have seen, it is much much more than that. We can spend our afternoons exploring, resting, painting, dreaming or learning even more if we choose~~all while avoiding the aforementioned pick up line.
13. We will be finished by around the end of March. By not taking the extreme breaks that are scattered throughout the school year (which is a disguised attempt to push year-round school without alarming the parents and taxpayers) we will be finished. For example, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? We are actually going to read the speeches and study his life…I once had a college professor that told us, “MLK wouldn’t haven’t wanted government to use him as an excuse to not work. He would have wanted people going about their business, working hard to bring about change in his name.”
14. No PTA. Need I say more?
15. Super Clothing Download. We can dress comfortably. Actually my son only really needs new sneakers–he has been a sandal kind of guy this summer. Most of his clothes still look good and still fit. So no clothes expenditures. You know, there is all that urge to keep up with the peer wearers and have something new and expensive. Blah! We can get him a few good things for the weekends and for other outings. At home, K-Mart Basic Editions all the way.
16. Games and more games. We love board games, and now we will have time to explore them all–chess, strategy games, Trivial Pursuit. Look out Jeopardy, here we come…..
17. We can go everywhere, at the drop of the hat. We can take a field trip a month, or one every two weeks, or one a week, or one every day if we choose!
18. Real Physical Education. We can go to the gym to exercise or swim. We can take nature walks. We can play tennis, ride bikes, hike. Consider the alternative: once a week gym classes where you get pummeled in the head with a dirty red gym ball by the local thick-headed, din-witted bully. Hmmmm? What would you choose??
19. Spiritual Education. My son will be able to read and study his Bible and pray whenever he chooses without secular intervention and ridicule. He can learn Bible History; he can even learn some Hebrew.
20. The Arts, every day. No more once a week “music” classes watching videos or learning te-te-te or ta-ta-ta. He can work on his piano lessons, listen to Mozart while he works. He can paint, draw and create. We can visit museums all over the southeast. He can learn to play his guitar, or the harmonica, or any instrument he pleases. He will learn music theory, thus learning a new language and increasing his mathematical ability.
21. Foreign language every single day. Bonjour! No waiting until high school–much of it has been cut by public high schools these days, anyway. It is only peculiar to this country that we do not teach foreign language to our children in elementary school. Across the world, most children can read and speak two or three languages fluently before they reach university or high school.
22. Development of the individual and moving forward. Why do public school systems insist children conform to a standard, and when they have conquered that standard, they want them to be quiet mouses and wait on the mass others to repeat and repeat and repeat and catch up, when the reality is they may never catch up? Why do we opress the gifted and the acheivers instead of celebrating them? In my homeschool, once a concept is learned, we will simply move on to the next. We will not have to wait on anyone to learn more new and exciting things.
23. Gifted interaction every single day. A completely gifted classroom every day–not a couple hours here or a couple hours there playing with Legos. I found that my son surpassed the opportunities found in the gifted pull-out model. He had already read what they were reading at least two years before. I was shocked to read the writings of these gifted children–misspelt words and extreme grammatical errors: most did not know even proper capitalization or punctuation. Is this really the future of America?
24. Oral recitation. Memorization and delivery can be studied by my son on key poets and documents that shaped our world, from the 23rd Psalm to The Declaration of Independence. I have been bothered by the lack of it for some time now. How do we expect leaders to develop if they cannot even speak in public? Most kids I see today cannot even get up in front of class without reading directly from a sheet of paper.
25. School for the Soul. What I desire most in my children is the desire to learn and eagerness to be educated simply for the love of education and a little knowledge in all things. I have simply found public education not only lacking, but a dismal failure of ineptitude here in the South. A place to learn free of drugs, knives and weapons, of ignorant bullies, cruel popularity contests, and general senselessness and those who embrace mediocrity is what I desire for my kids. Honestly, I have never cared for popularity contests–I only want to be able to face my God every day knowing that I have been a good steward of the gifts he has provided me. My children are my gifts and the buck truly does stop with me. Hmmm–is that a novel approach? Be Popular With God? After all, the local football team is not going to be manning the pearly gates of heaven. A Saint already has that covered.
And a postscript, less anyone think my child will be technologically challenged. Every subject we do will have a computer componet, from power points, blogging, online history videos, games and more. But the computer technology in our home will back up the learning and reinforce it. It will not be the driving force, just merely icing on the knowledge cake.